Glossary term: Planetary Nebula

Description: A planetary nebula is a cloud of gas and dust, coming from the external layers of a dying star and expanding into the general interstellar medium. The gas, energized by ultraviolet light from the dying star, glows with an emission-line spectrum. Some planetary nebulae are approximately spherical, and may look like a planet in a small telescope but their nature is completely different. Other planetary nebulae are not spherical, due to the star's rotation, magnetic field, or binarity.

Related Terms:

See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".